Today was a blast! Samantha and I were invited by Hanae to go travel through Moji for shopping today. It ended up being an all-day adventure. Today (4/29) is a national holiday commemorating the former emperor’s birthday! so everyone was off work…unless you work in retail and food…of course. But it was very nice. We took a bus from Shimonoseki Station to Karato, and then a ferry across the Kanmon Strait to Kyushu island…a completely other island of Japan. It’s kind of funny, because it’s a big deal to us outsiders, but to the natives of Shimonoseki and Kitakyushu, they don’t really care. Anywho, we went around shopping and checking out some places and then stopped for food. We saw a guy doing stunts, like juggling flaming torches on top of three boards separated by kitchen glasses and balanced on a round thingy…and then he ate one of the torches.
I found some great postcards, and a little pottery piece in which I can grow mini-sunflowers. I have named it Sophie and cannot wait for the 20 days for it to bloom! I love sunflowers! We ate a very nice restaurant called Mermaid Cafe and then went up the top of the observatory tower and checked out the area from a heighth of 30-stories. It was great. We soon countered the heighth with a depth of 14-stories and walked a tunnel stretching underneath the Kanmon Strait (yes, under the Pacific Ocean), between the two islands…but first we walked along the coast promenade and were nearly blasted by the waves of ships passing by.
After a full day of walking around the area, we boarded a bus back to Shimonoseki and parted ways as Samantha and I decided to go to Green Mall for dinner. It’s a street that is full of Korean shops and restaurants. I really wanted bulgogi and Samantha wanted some Bi Bim Bop. We went up and down the street looking for something we might recognize, and came across a shop called Finally Ghetto…on the awning is all this writing saying, “The Lord is my Strength” and “The God of Elijah, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob” Of course, mystified, we went inside. It’s owned by a man from Nigeria who has been here for 15 years…had the shop for that long. The clothing and accessories were definitely of the urban style and so funny to have both things in the Korean section of a Japanese city. We were amazed. We told him about International Cafe and he was excited to hear about it so I’m going to take him a flyer when we get it printed off.
Not to mention that as we were looking for a restaurant we stopped in front of one place looking at the pictures. A young man stepped out from beside the building and I asked him, “bulgogi?” Samantha is so funny because she sometimes thinks I can’t communicate with anyone since I don’t know Japanese well at all yet, but I have fun just asking people on the street for help. It gives me a good experience, and something for them to laugh about afterwards. It’s the only way I can start building relationships with people here…by meeting people. In the clearest English I’ve heard in a while, he said, “Oh, you like bulgogi? You can get it here. I work here, come in.” After a while, his English kind of faltered, but he was a faithful attendant as we ordered and figured out what to do. They turned on a grill right on our table and brought out my seasoned beef raw for me to cook myself. It was interesting. We told him about International Cafe too, and he was excited to know that we are English teachers. His name is Tetsu, you can pray for him. He says he’s at work a lot, but he wants to come down to the Center to talk with us sometime.
We came back and unloaded from the long day. I poured Sophie’s soil and planted the seeds, and loaded up the pictures from our adventure. The link is below, please enjoy!!